July 18, 2020 [LINK / comment]

Summer practice games begin!

Earlier this evening, in MLB stadiums from coast to coast, the first practice games of this summer "retraining" camp got underway! Most teams are merely playing intrasquad games, however. In Washington, Max Scherzer quickly got banged up by the Philadelphia Phillies, who scored seven runs in the first two innings, including a three-run homer to the right side of center field by former Nat Bryce Harper. With no fans present due to the coronavirus, however, it was a rather surreal spectacle. Final score: 7-2.

Over the last couple weeks, some uncertainties in the rosters have been resolved, such as the good news that Juan Soto and Howie Kendrick have both been released from precautionary isolation and are available to play. Accordingly, I've updated that information on the Washington Nationals page.

Oakland's new ballpark: What now?

Just when the Oakland Athletics' long search for a way to get a new stadium built seemed near the finish line, this nasty plague has put everything on hold. In late May, ballparkdigest.com reported that the A's top communication executive, Catherine Aker, said "The timeline may be adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic." In light of expected financial constraints for the foreseeable future, there is a growing possibility that the A's will simply build a new stadium adjacent to their current home, Oakland Coliseum. That makes a lot of sense to me. The proposal to build a new stadium on the waterfront near downtown Oakland was never very convincing. By the way, there was a preliminary agreement in May of 2019 to rename the Athletics' aging home "RingCentral Coliseum," but a bribery scandal soon put ice water on that idea, and it was formally canceled last January. As far as I know, the name change never became official. Yet another sordid chapter in a long series of misbegotten naming rights fiascos -- not unlike the Texas Rangers' former home, Globe Life Park, or whatever you want to call it.

And so, since it has been a while since this topic came up, I thought it would be appropriate to present a chronology of the Athletics' prolonged efforts to build a new ballpark -- a litany of 14 years of business schemes that went sour. You can see a nice summary of the alternative site plans at oaklandfans.com.

November 9, 2006 : Athletics and Cisco reached a tentative stadium deal in Fremont.

January 17, 2007 : Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff pitched ballpark plan to Fremont City Council; fans from Oakland protest.

November 17, 2007 : Athletics submit plans for $1.8 billion "ballpark village" in Fremont.

April 24, 2008 : Co-owner Keith Wolff says new ballpark in Fremont may not open until 2012, or later.

December 9, 2008 : Lew Wolff now plans for a different site in Fremont, giving up on the "ballpark village" at Cisco Field."

January 15, 2009 : Athletics suggest alternate site in San Jose if Fremont proposal fails.

February 12, 2009 : Growing opposition to ballpark in Fremont, but there are big obstacles in San Jose too.

March 13, 2009 : Oakland mayor hopes A's stay in Oakland, but is vague about stadium funding.

November 28, 2009 : Ballpark support in Oakland dwindles, while San Jose prepares to decide on public funding.

February 5, 2010 : Rising hopes in Fremont for a stadium to be built on the site of the soon-to-be-closed Nummi automobile plant.

May 25, 2010 : San Jose Planning Commission's environmental impact statement raises the chances for a ballpark there.

December 7, 2011 : Decision time frame for ballpark in San Jose is being accelerated.

November 12, 2012 : MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is negotiating S.F Giants territorial rights in San Jose, as prelude to relocating the Athletics there.

July 29, 2013 : San Jose city council files federal lawsuit against Major League Baseball over territorial rights claimed by S.F. Giants.

August 29, 2016 (October 2015): U.S. Supreme Court rejected claim that MLB used monopoly powers to block relocation of A's to San Jose, killing that option.

December 1, 2018 : Athletics announce plans for new ballpark to be built adjacent to Howard Terminal Park near downtown Oakland.

March 20, 2019 : Oakland's future ballpark's tapered terraced park will have a rounded shape, rather than rectangular.

Cashman Field update

Cashman Field

Remember when the Athletics were forced to postpone their home opener in 1996? Oakland Coliseum was still under reconstruction, anticipating the return of the Raiders after a 13-year stay in Los Angeles, so the Athletics were forced to play somewhere else for their first six home games. They chose a minor league ballpark in Las Vegas, Cashman Field. With that in mind, I updated said diagram with corrections in the grandstand depth and adding details such as lights, bullpens, and the lateral walkway. (Why such a trivial stadium? It was easy to do, and I was burned out after doing Globe Life Field.) To compare to the previous version (2006!), just click on the diagram image on that page. I also added an "exposed" version and a soccer version to account for the fact that it was converted to a soccer stadium last year after the Las Vegas 51s moved outside the city, changing their name to the "Aviators." Unfortunately, no minor league games are being played this year due to the coronavirus.

And where are the Raiders supposed to play this fall? That's right, the very same city that they forced their erstwhile baseball "house mates" to play in 24 years ago: Las Vegas! We'll find out soon enough whether the Las Vegas Raiders' new Allegiant Stadium (see raiders.com) and the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, just west Los Angeles (home of the L.A. Rams and Chargers; see therams.com) will in fact host games this fall, and if so, whether fans will be allowed to attend. (What a weird series of coincidences...) And to finish this discussion of football, let us note the end of Globe Life Park's (not Field!) brief service as a football stadium after the Texas Rangers left it. The brick behemoth in Arlington was reconfigured to accommodate the XFL Dallas Renegades earlier this year, but alas the XFL went bankrupt -- once again, due to the coronavirus. (Are you tired of that cliché yet?) I updated the Football use page with that information, plus the names "Allegiant Stadium" and the "SoFi Stadium."

Nice plug!

Speaking of Globe Life Field (not Park!), an article at fivethirtyeight.com (which is mostly about political polls) about the Rangers' new home cited my little website as a source of information (the Stadium profiles page in particular), and I appreciated that.